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Charges against three Deutsche Welle correspondents dropped

(RSF/IFEX) - Reporters Without Borders has given a cautious welcome to a decision by the Tashkent prosecutor's office to drop charges of tax evasion, defamation and working without accreditation against three freelance journalists who work for the German public broadcaster Deutsche Welle.

After investigating Yuri Chernogayev, Sajera Ruzikulova and Obid Shabanov for months, the prosecutor's office announced on 4 June 2007 that they were covered by an amnesty issued for the 14th anniversary of the Uzbek constitution. But it gave them a two-page document reminding them of their obligations under the law.

"This is good news, but the climate in Uzbekistan still does not favour press freedom," Reporters Without Borders said. "At the same time as they were amnestied, they were given a warning to obey the law. We fear their work will be kept under close surveillance and that the authorities will try to accumulate evidence to bring a new prosecution against them."

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